ISLAM-HATERS: AN ENEMY WITHIN
The most repugnant trend in the American shouting match that passes for a debate on the struggle with Islamist terrorism isn't the irresponsible nonsense on the left - destructive though that is. The really ugly "domestic insurgency" is among right-wing extremists bent on discrediting honorable conservatism.
How? By insisting that Islam can never reform, that the violent conquest and subjugation of unbelievers is the faith's primary agenda - and, when you read between the lines, that all Muslims are evil and subhuman.
I've received no end of e-mails and letters seeking to "enlighten" me about the insidious nature of Islam. Convinced that I'm naive because I defend American Muslims and refuse to "see" that Islam is 100 percent evil, the writers warn that I'm a foolish "dhimmi," blind to the conspiratorial nature of Islam.
Web sites list no end of extracts from historical documents and Islamic jurisprudence "proving" that holy war against Christians and Jews is the alpha and omega of the Muslim faith. The message between the lines: Muslims are Untermenschen.
We've been here before, folks. Bigotry is bigotry - even when disguised as patriotism. And, invariably, the haters fantasizing about a merciless Crusade never bothered to serve in our military (Hey, guys, there's still time to join. Lay your backsides on the line - and send your kids!).
It's time for our own fanatics to look in the mirror. Hard. (And stop sending me your trash. I'll never sign up for your "Protocols of the Elders of Mecca." You're just the Ku Klux Klan with higher-thread-count sheets.)
As for the books and Web sites listing all those passages encouraging violence against the infidel, well, we could fill entire libraries with bloody-minded texts from the Christian past. And as a believing Christian, I must acknowledge that there's nothing in the Koran as merciless as God's behavior in the Book of Joshua.
Another trait common among those warning us that Islam is innately evil is that few have spent any time in the Muslim world. Well, I have. While the Middle East leaves me ever more despairing of its future, elsewhere, from Senegal to Sulawesi, from Delhi to Dearborn, I've seen no end of vibrant, humane, hopeful currents in the Muslim faith.
I'm no Pollyanna. I'm all for killing terrorists, rather than taking them prisoner. I know we're in a fight for our civilization. But the fight is with the fanatics - a minority of a minority - not with those who simply worship differently than those of us who grew up with the Little Brown Church in the Vale.